Who in this crowd has ever volunteered to sit in the middle? Who in this crowd never had a choice when it came to sitting in the middle?
Not me. Me.
Simple answers when I think about my early life riding on the hump in the back seat of whatever car we had, namely the '58 Ford ranch wagon---two-toned brown, complete with a blinker system for signaling turns.
I don't think the old '49 Ford had a blinker. I do know, however, that it had a reverse, and there was a time I wondered if it had any forward gears.
That was the one day that I did not have to sit in the middle between my two older brothers.
I sat in the driver's seat.
I was about 10.
Nobody was home. Mother had parked the Ford sedan in the front yard for me to wash.
Then she went to town to buy groceries, something she did often---something she had to do often cuz of us thieving gluttons.
I turned on the ignition, stuck my foot on the gas, and the car started rolling backward.
It moved backward rather speedily across the yard, across the driveway, onto another patch of yard and into a fence. It was nice enough to stop there.
I could not find a way to make the car go forward that day, but Mr. Best did.
He was driving his equipment in the hay field across from our house on Boyer. I ran bare-footed through the stubble to summon him.
He came. He put the car back where it belonged, with plenty of time left before Mother's return.
He did not keep our secret though. He told his wife. She told my mother by late that afternoon.
Most other days of riding in cars during my young life were spent on that hump in the middle with aggressive elbows on either side of me.
So, readers may ask "why" about my title today.
Well, this has nothing to do with being squashed between humanity in a car or an airplane seat.
This has to do with a television show on ABC. This morning's paper included a feature about the Wednesday night show called "The Middle."
I was pleased to see the series getting some positive press because it's one of my favorite shows on TV.
The writer said "The Middle" has been pretty much been under the radar because of its placement before "Modern Family" on the Wednesday-night comedy line-up.
Viewers, however, are discovering and tuning in to the show on a more regular basis three years out, and the numbers are growing.
I love the show because it reminds me so much of vignettes experienced during my childhood, growing up as an awkward, precocious, impish klutz.
The more viewers watch the show about a blue-collar family from Indiana with two boys and a girl, the more loyal they seem to become, as numbers are indicating.
From week to week, each character maintains a believable, albeit quirky, consistency.
Brick, the intellectual bookworm, often repeats words or phrases to himself in a whisper. He drives the rest of the family crazy, always imploring them to watch presentations of his latest creative effort.
The family seldom wants to watch, but they make themselves do so, just for Brick.
The older brother who thinks he's pretty cool is horrified by his dorky, upbeat sister who now roams the same high school halls he does.
Oh, how I remember the walks home from our school-bus stop down at the corner of Boyer and Woodland Drive---being lectured by my brother Kevin, "Don't talk to me at school."
I broke his rule one time while he was walking around with his friends. I didn't do that again.
The girl is so klutzy that I feel a kindred spirit. Somehow, though, I could never be quite as resilient as she.
Instead, I allowed myself to fall into the deep, black hole of utter humiliation, remaining there for days before clawing my way back toward putting myself out there to do the next dumb thing.
Some things haven't changed.
Anyway, I'm glad to see that this show is receiving its due. The writer compared the series to "Roseanne," only with a nicer family.Because of its humor, its real-life, everyday situations and its generally upbeat tone, I'll keep choosing "The Middle" on TV-----as opposed to the middle in the back seat of a car with a hump and a pair of mean elbows on either side.